Bush calls for end to Pakistan emergency
by Melbourne Herald Sun
He understands the stakes of the war, and I do believe he understands the importance of democracy,'' Mr Bush said on the Fox Business Network..
The US President, who described the unrest in Pakistan as "an ever-changing situation", noted that he had urged General Musharraf by telephone one week ago to lift the state of emergency, hold elections, and quit as army chief.
"He's agreed to hold elections in January, and he's agreed to take his uniform off. And our judgment is, is that the sooner he can suspend his emergency decree, the faster Pakistan gets back on the road to democracy,'' Mr Bush said.
"When I talked to him, I said: 'You got to get Pakistan back on the road to democracy as quickly as possible.' And that means elections, and that means that, in my judgment, the road to democracy means you can't be the head of the military and the president at the same time,'' Mr Bush said.
Though Mr Bush and other US aides have been categorical that Gen Musharraf has promised to step down as army chief, the Pakistani leader, who seized power in a coup in 1999, has set conditions for such a move.
Gen Musharraf has said he will hang up his uniform and take the oath of office for a second term as a civilian as soon as Pakistan's Supreme Court, now stripped of its chief justice and other judges who refused to endorse emergency rule, certifies his October 6 victory.
On Sunday, Gen Musharraf promised Pakistan would hold general elections by January 9 but indicated the state of emergency he imposed a week ago would stay in place until then.
He said parliament would be dissolved tomorrow and an election commission would fix an exact date for the vote, with a caretaker government to run the country in the interim.